Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My First Quilt

As I've expressed before, I've had an overwhelming desire to make a quilt lately. It was an urge that my husband originally laughed at (assuming I didn't have the skill or patience required). He encouraged me to start small (as in learning to thread a sewing machine) and practice on projects that wouldn't be quite as overwhelming. And so I did. . . The previous posts on this blog are testimony to that. Finally, the day came (last Wednesday) when I felt confident it was time to tackle my first quilt!

My Mom has been quite sick for the past month and was placed in quarantine at the hospital last week. I couldn't see her during that time (which was extremely tough), so I decided it would be an ideal time to express my love through a quilt. . . For those of you unfamiliar with the quilting process, let me just tell you, if someone takes the time to make you a quilt they really, ReALLY, REALLY LOVE YOU! It's a LOT of work! I've decided it's one of the most definitive expressions of love there is! :)

I chose to make a rag quilt for two reasons. First, it's EXTREMELY FORGIVING! And second, it fits my free-spirited nature. I don't enjoy being bound by lots of hard and fast rules. . . as those of you closest to me can attest! It took about 2 1/2 days and 20 hours to complete. Here's how I did it:

First, I chose the fabric, 5 different patterns (about a yard and a half of each, not including the border).

I then ripped the fabric in 8 x 8 squares. For those of you who have never ripped fabric, I highly recommend it! It's quite therapeutic! :)
I then cut the batting in 6 x 6 squares, sandwiched it between two squares of like fabric and pinned them together.
I repeated the process 69 more times (there were around 70 blocks in all).
I then sewed each block from corner to corner, making an X.

Once each block was quilted with an X, I laid the squares out on the floor in the pattern I desired. I chose to lay them diagonally because I liked the diamond affect. You could just as easily lay them in rows and columns. As you can see, the blocks around the edges had to be cut in half (about 1 inch from the middle seam).
I then pinned the blocks in each row together and sewed them one-by-one.

Once the blocks in each row were sewn together, I pinned the rows and sewed those together. This part is quite tough because of the weight of the quilt at the machine.
This is the back of the quilt once all the blocks were sewn together. . .
And this is the front . . .
I decided to add a green border (which you don't have to do). I felt like it would be a nice place for the eyes to rest and it added a bit of length and width. I don't have pictures of the border process. . . It took several hours on it's own. . . Basically I purchased 3 yards of fabric, ripped it in 8 inch strips, folded each strip in half and ironed, then pinned and sewed around the edges. . . The corners were a challenge all their own. If you plan to tackle this project yourself and want more detailed instructions, just leave me a message and I'll gladly give you more info. . .

Once the border was on, I snipped around each block on the front side of the quilt. This enables the quilt to "rag" . . .
I then washed and dried it. . .
And there you have it. . . My first quilt. :)
I added tags on the back (something I learned from Allen's grandmother who so faithfully makes quilts for every couple and child in our family). I printed the lyrics of a song and a scripture that has inspired my Mom during her illness on one tag. . .
And a to/from label on the other tag. . .
I can't tell you how amazing it felt to FINALLY complete something as monumental as a quilt! I'll definitely do it again!! This isn't a project for the faint of heart, but if you have the desire GO FOR IT! You'll be glad you did!! :)


  1. Jessica that is an amazing quilt! I love it! You did an awesome job:) Thanks for the how-to guide. You've inspired me to try this project. :)

  2. This is BEAUTIFUL!! What a labor of love. . . so glad you added the tags as well - I'm all about being sentimental!